Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simply {fair trade}

So yesterday I teased y'all with the promise of my shopping adventures into smarter, more thoughtful territory. I should be honest and make it clear I've made many purchases this week, but alas, few are fair or made in America. *note as of today I've discovered more made in America tags in my shopping bag than thought... ) I will however, tell you about some of the items I've purchased in the last several weeks and plan on shopping for in the future. Since I'm new to most of these companies I won't try to give you a big summary of their purpose, but instead will give you a link to the company and the specific product I have or plan to purchase. Lazy blogging I know, but I've been dealing with sick babies and my brain hurts. So here it is... want to come shopping with me? {If you REALLY want to go shopping with me there is another fair trade fair here this weekend at St. Marys. I'm going to sneak over in search of chocolate at the minimum for my guys stockings, let me know if you want to go with me!}

New to me:

I was introduced to this company at a fair trade fair a couple weekends ago. We found sooo many cute things. Ayden wanted some cute owls but decided on a wooden puzzle instead. Balin requested a mobile with little children hanging from it.  I found this sweet little terra cotta piggy bank. Balin has been asking for a piggy bank for a couple of years now, and this one is perfect. It has a great seal to keep the money inside and I love that it has a classic stone finish and not plastic. Santa will be bringing this little ham to wait under the tree... it just might get a little elf hat. We also bought chocolate from Serrv. So good.
Also new to me: Come Together Trading Company      
Some of my favorite products from that weekend came from this group. I bought myself this amazing cherry red scarf. I looked online tonight and this color is sold out, but the other colors were equally beautiful. What amazed me about this scarf is how soft it is. Soft enough that even Silas, my two year old muslin swaddle wrap addict LOVES it. He snuggles right into it. Plus it is woven and not knit, so it lays flat making it super thin. I've never felt this way about about a scarf :-).                                                                     
Oldies but goodies:
SSeko. A gal from a church I used to attend did an internship with this company. I've never made a purchase from them, but they do incredible work that allows young women to gain experience and financial support before they go to college. I have old lady feet so their sandals would never work for me, but I still dream of wearing them. Their wallets and totes on the other hand are drool worthy. Beautiful, handcrafted out of leather, they sell out super fast. So if you see one you love scoop it up! Scoop one up for me too, Puh-lease.
Apparent Project: Probably one of my favorites. I purchased several of their necklaces this year for special people, and pointed my husband towards their table with my oldest. {moms need gifts in their stockings too}.  My favorite detail with Apparent is that they attach a card with individual stories of the actual specific artisans who make each and every project. You know exactly who you are supporting and details of their life.  If we do ever get an adoption fundraiser going, their bracelets are HIGH on my list of ideas.
I had intended a bit more detail this week, but we've been dealing with so much. And then top top it off, this post got interrupted by what I call "bedtime butt." Some people refer to it as  chigger bites. Whatever it is- it ends with a certain small child making a huge scene for two hours after bedtime and a husband going to Walgreen's at 11:30 pm for benadryl cream. Because she is awesome though, Heather Hendrick happened to post about the fair trade fair and I decided to do what all lazy bloggers do- send you her way. At the bottom of the post she links to a huge list of fair trade shopping possibilities. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Simply {fair}

Thanksgiving was wonderful, but the moment the turkey hit the trash Jingle Bells started playing and somehow a gingerbread latte made with eggnog showed up in my hand. My feet are ready to hit the ground running the Friday after thanksgiving.. but not to wally world or tar(get). I'm kinda over black friday. But then again, I'm ready to shop.. I just want to enjoy it. I've had some fun early in the morning sneaking out of the house to go round up low priced goodies... but the stories of people being trampled and shot kinda take the fun out of it. What should be a joyus experience celebrating the return of THE King is instead a frantic rush to getgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetget and to be firstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirst and by all means to get it cheapcheapcheapcheapcheapcheapcheap. If you are into that, great, but I enjoyed Friday morning on the couch with my snuggle bugs. We did make a run later in the day to get fabric for our Christmas quilt, and to pick up some extension chords so we could hang lights. The lights were up by sundown and my sweet vintage style yard ornaments were nestled into the garden shining happily by bedtime. This time of year always feels like my bank account gets a stomach virus. eeck. We always TRY to stick to a budget, but usually fail miserably. I wanted this year to feel different. I want our purchases to matter more, to mean more, and to point us towards the nativity. I've thought a lot this year about where our stuff comes from. {Have you seen that jaw dropingly awful commercial on tv for the "stuff sack"? It is these children singing this horrendous song about 'How much stuff could a stuff sack stuff if a stuff sack could stuff : exactly like a saturday night live skit... but someone actually paid to make it and it IS REAL.} I do not want more stuff to stuff in our stuff. I just moved. I KNOW how much of our STUFF is actually quite disposable, pointless and gross. At the same time, I love having a comfortable home, and I enjoy blessing my children with toys. It is such a tough balance. While I want to make better choices for the products we buy, I am also leery of falling into the environmental/product equality/ do everything perfect guilt trap. This is not about legalism, or proving I'm a better person or holier than anyone. I simply want to feel a little better about what I buy, and buy with a bit more purpose. I'm attacking this in three ways: buying local, buying Made in the USA, and buying Fair Trade. Not everything (by a long shot) even closely falls into these categories, but by making a few better choices I hope we will start a tradition of buying smarter in our home. I want us to be good stewards of our finances and less selfish.  I'll be posting a few posts this week that show our feeble attempts. I am proof that the spendiest of spenders can make wiser choices and do a little good this holiday season.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Simply {Thankful}

I love today. I love that we a country take a day to celebrate the blessings that we have. I am thankful, despite the atrocities that soon followed, that the 40 pilgrims who demanded that the reformation be followed in its entirety gave a day so remarkably full of thanks that we still remember it today. Gratitude. Such a novel idea in our culture of greed. I am so especially thankful for these four people I get to spend everyday with. They are gifts. Beautiful amazing gifts.

My Man. geeze louise I love him.

The feast, complete with jesters

Balin loves cranberry sauce the most

Ayden cleared two plates

Silas was so excited he would not make eye contact. All he said was "oh MOM! YUM!"
We are now in a turkey stupor. I was pretty pleased with my first full turkey. I brined it using a combination of several recipes and then cooked it in a roaster oven. I pray that today you are celebrating as joyfully as we are. Try to ignore the shopping sales until tomorrow. Let today be a day of thanks. For we do have soooooo much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Creative parenting {co-sleeping}

I have never been a proponent of co sleeping with your child. I think moms and dads need one sacred place of their own. A place children don't pester and prod and disrupt. I think children need to be confident in their own safe place. That being said i have found co-sleeping beneficial during certain episodes of sleeplessness such as during the nursing days to keep a colicky baby in my arms to catch a few extra zs. I often allowed my first born to take over daddy's side of the bed during his many many many trips away during those early years because I hated sleeping alone. Nightmares and storms happen and children need comfort sometimes. Lately though I have fought hard and long an endless battle with both of my littles. They lay down in their own beds fine to fall asleep, but by 5:00 my face is covered in arms and legs and twenty extra toes. Usually I am too exhausted to get up at that point so we stay in the mangled insect formation until the alarm goes off. The problem, which is not a problem, but it is... Is that my littles are absolute snuggle bugs. They prefer to be nowhere else than wrapped up in either parents arms. They are not too attached, they enjoy playing alone and with others... But if I'm still they are in my lap. So it hit me the other night as Balin was recovering from the flu and I found his bed undressed at bedtime because I had forgotten the laundry was not finished... Their bunk bed came equipped with a queen sized mattress. AND... These two snuggles bugs just so happen to have a partner in crime. So I did what came naturally after re-reading all the Little House books... I put them in bed TOGETHER. Perfect. Last night went fairly well. Sy came in like clockwork at 4:50, but Balin stayed in their bed. I overheard my sweet middle born telling his big brother this afternoon " guess what?! I get to snuggle Silas ALL NIGHT LONG!" Tonight I fully expected them to have caught on and rebelled, but there were no tears at bedtime {Silas usually gives us a good two minutes to prove he's still boss} Instead it just. Went. Quiet. When I checked on them... This is the sweetness I found. Co-sleeping snuggle buddy brothers. Who would have thunk it?!